Trial Advocacy Honors Program

Professor Esposito before a TAHP competition

The Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) was created in 1994 for students who are interested in developing the important litigation skills and valuable confidence necessary to excel in trial advocacy. Through TAHP, members (or advocates) learn to express their creativity in a simulated trial atmosphere, presenting arguments with composure and poise, while mastering the rules of evidence.

Teams participate in national and regional mock trial competitions (consisting of both criminal and civil trials) throughout the academic year, where they demonstrate case preparation, pre-trial motions and preliminary matters, opening and closing statements, direct and cross examinations of witnesses, and use of exhibits. Advocates have earned awards at some of the nation's most prestigious invitation-only competitions, judged by distinguished members of the bench and bar.

TAHP advocates have the privilege of being trained by Southwestern faculty and alumni coaches whose dedication to the program have made it what it is today. Professors Joseph Esposito '89 and Bill Seki '88 serve as co-directors of the program.

  1. Intramural Competition

    The Trial Advocacy Honors Program's (TAHP) intramural competition is open to all first-year day, evening, PLEAS, and part-time day students who have completed the requirements of their LAWS II course. The TAHP intramural competition is not based on the same case file as used in the LAWS II Trial Practice track and is not connected to the mandatory LAWS round. The intramural competition consists of five rounds of competition after the mandatory LAWS advocacy round has concluded:

    • Intramural Round One (for all competitors)
    • Intramural Round Two (for all competitors)
    • Quarter Finals: top 8 advocates
    • Semi Finals: top 4 advocates
    • Finals: top 2 advocates

    In the first round of the Trial Advocacy intramural competition, advocates conduct a closing argument. The best advocates of the first round are invited to compete in the second round, where they conduct a direct examination and a closing argument. At the conclusion of the second round, the top eight advocates are invited to compete in single elimination rounds. The eight finalists are chosen on the basis of a combined score of points from the first two intramural rounds. Sixteen students will receive awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the competition: the eight finalists and eight additional students selected from the first two optional rounds.

  2. Membership and Selection

    Students must interview to be considered for membership in the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP). The Trial Advocacy Honors Program may decide who they wish to interview, but at least will invite the top 8 finalists (i.e., those students who competed in the quarter finals) to interview for membership. After interviewing, membership selection is made by the program's faculty advisors with the assistance of the Trial Advocacy Honors Program Board of Governors. Selections are based on the student's performance in the intramural competition, the attitude of the candidate, and a willingness to commit to the program. To be eligible for consideration for the Trial Advocacy Honors Program, a student must have a GPA of above a 2.33.

  3. Current Members

    2017-2018 Board of Governors

    • Ashley Rivkin - Chair
    • Perry Poussard, Jr. - Academics Chair
    • Roger Wilkerson - Communications Chair
    • Parisa Saleki - Competitions Chair
    • Giulia Moore - Alumni Relations Chair

    Senior Advocates

    TBD

    Junior Advocates

    TBD

    Co-Directors

    • Professor Joseph Esposito '89
    • Professor Bill H. Seki '88

    Team Coaches

    • Bahareh Aghajani
    • Anet Badali
    • Doug Baek
    • Jessica Balady
    • Philip Bather
    • Michael Bauer
    • Sharonda Bradford
    • Mackenzie Brown
    • Ashlee Clark
    • Jeremy Davis
    • Sara Greco
    • Kevin Gres
    • Sheetal Jhala
    • Shiraz Khalid
    • Michael Morse
    • Negin Mostadim
    • Navid Nakjhavani
    • Anastasia Sagorsky
    • Daniel Selarz
    • Kellian Summers
    • Jennifer Turner
    • Christine Wood
    • Brian Yasuzawa